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Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism


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This is sort of a combination of a review and commentary on the state of modern pop.

Death Cab for Cutie

"Transatlanticism"

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Release in Oct. 2003

Any musician will tell you that the worst thing a musician can do is sell out. When a band sells out, they sacrifice their artistic integrity in order to make a "safe" pop album that they know will sell. This is why the biggest music listeners always like a band's older albums better. However, Death Cab for Cutie is a band that was actually improved by selling out. Instead of making a "safe" record to sell, Death Cab attempted to gain popularity by bettering their musicianship and songwriting and amping up the emotion. In doing so, they made what I think is a defining album of this generation and where pop music is heading.

With this album, Death Cab created a commercial album that is a true piece of art. Like masterpieces by Radiohead and Pink Floyd, the album is incredibly cohesive, and the order of the songs is as important as the songs themselves. Listening to this album is an experience, and it's not one you can get by listening to a few of your favorites off the album in random order on your ipod. From the grandiose and dramatic opening, "The New Year," to the emotionally draining final song, "A Lack of Color," the album is consistently moving and entertaining at the same time.

Transatlanticsm is a beacon of hope for pop music. It's exciting that these sorts of albums are being made, but what's even more exciting is that these sorts of albums are popular. Every teen girl sings along to "The Sound of Settling," but does that take away any of the song's credibility? No, it's a great song. The fact that it's popular is not a mere coincidence, but hopefully a sign of things to come. It is inspirational that in this day and age, something can be popular because it's good.

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